Human Demand for Luxury Cuisine Pushes Chinese Giant Salamander to Brink of Extinction

An amphibian that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs and is believed to have inspired the yin-yang symbol is on the edge of extinction thanks to the demand by humans for “luxury cuisine.”

The Chinese giant salamander is facing extinction from widespread poaching. It is the world’s largest amphibian existing today.

Samuel Turvey, from the Zoological Society of London’s Institute of Zoology and co-author of the study published Monday in Current Biology, said, “The overexploitation of these incredible animals for human consumption has had a catastrophic effect on their numbers in the wild over an amazingly short time-span. Unless coordinated conservation measures are put in place as a matter of urgency, the future of the world’s largest amphibian is in serious jeopardy.”

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the amphibian, also known by its scientific name Andrias davidianus, is considered Critically Endangered and its population is decreasing. The salamanders come from an ancient group of salamanders that dates back to the Jurassic Period and can grow up to 5.9 feet, which is almost the average height of a man.

– Blair Halliday